This year like the year before, neither team has any chance of landing this season’s League title.
Baring any strange and unpredictable turn of events, the honours surely would be Plateau United’s. But it still would take the shine off how massive a game this is.
There of course is the bragging rights and the small matter of a Continental ticket.
Both teams have an outside chance of grabbing one of those tickets via a League finish.
Getting one over Sunday’s opponent would do the cause some good.
The home side expectedly would do more of the attacking, hence this Key Battles column is a bit loopsided:
Dimgba vs Aloma:
Those who saw this match-up 2 seasons ago in Aba confessed that the defender was literally torn in shreds by Warri Wolves winger Stanley Dimgba.
Dimgba has in sincerity not quite hit that mark for Enyimba since he was signed at the start of the season but he has been one of the bright sparks for Mr Ogunbote.
Idris Aloma on the other hand has been on a mini journey since Kadiri Ikhana left his title winning squad at Enyimba.
The former’s appointment at Pillars would see a reunion with Aloma whose set piece skills and attacking contributions (when he makes them) will be key for the visitors as they seek to inflict damage on the People’s Elephant.
Ibenegbu vs Kamal:
Perhaps the visitors will field two defensive midfielders, if they do then the likely choice could be ex-Enyimba’s duo of Razak Aliyu and Sikiru Kamal, A defensive Masterclasss would require tidiness on the ball, snuffing out any potential attack and these two surely would do a good job.
Aliyu has barely sniffed this season but Kamal who has been in good form in the recent weeks would surely get the nod.
Ibenegbu on the other hand has been one of Enyimba’s most influential players this season.
Having netted in each of the last three home games, he would be buzzing for a fourth in a row. But must figure out a way to undo Pillar’s middle men who surely would pose stern tests.
Gyan vs Ojo:
Amos Gyan may not be attacker that readily comes to mind for the average NPFL follower but Pillars know he’s simply indispensable.
Ubong Ekpai used to be that man but in Gyan, they do have a different kind of threat – pace, ability to create space for himself despite more physically imposing defenders and of course an eye for the goal.
Dare Ojo has seen less games than he did last season but he has returned from an injury layoff and has taken over at Right Back from Onamado and Abalogu.
He would need to be at his imperious best if he intends to shut off Pillars’attacking intent from the flanks.
Gambo vs Ogbonnaya:
Pillar’s living legend Gambo Mohammed may not be anywhere near the top of the League’s marksmen’s chart but Enyimba remember him very well.
He scored in this reverse fixture earlier in the season and he is one for the big games.
Nelson Ogbonnaya and his defence partners know the veteran cant be ignored for a second.
Three seasons ago as Pillars were set to be crowned League Champions in Aba, he caught Enyimba backline napping as a pulled a goal back for his side seconds after Enyimba had taken a 2 goal lead. Call him a spentforce at your peril.
Mfon vs Udoji:
Not many are aware of it but Udoji directly or indirectly influenced Enyimba’s decision to sign the prodigy from Akwa United about 4 seasons ago. Nor did he know he was going to hand over the captain’s armband to Mfon after last season.
All that however counts for little as points are at stake across the board on Sunday.
No one is in doubt as to what Udoji produces and as one looking to make a statement to his former employers, Udoji can be trusted to play head and heart to shut out Enyimba’s attackers.
Mfon on the other hand is eager to return to the Continent as a good start to his Enyimba captainship role.
He started the comeback against Lobi last time out but here, faces a defence that knows him too well.
Enyimba fans may be missing their inspirational ex-captain but Udoh is keen on penning his own legacy.
Sunday’s clash would be a good way to get started.